Sierra Leone Telegraph: 8 September 2020:
The corruption case against former vice president, Victor Bockarie Foh and five others, brought by the Anti-Corruption Commission in 2017, has gained traction again after the proceedings were stalled due to the Corona virus pandemic and the flight of one of the accused – Ibrahim Fakeh Conteh, who is believed to have left the jurisdiction. Interpol is said to have been officially contacted to track down the wanted accused.
Counsel for Victor Foh – the 2nd accused (Photo), H. M. Gavao, has asked the prosecution to produce a video recording that was made of a vital event showing the 1st accused – Sheka S. Kamara, and the former vice president shortly before the 1st accused left the shores of Sierra Leone for Saudi Arabia on the 18th August 2017, as Head of the of the Sierra Leone delegation to perform the Hajj pilgrimage in Mecca.
In addition to the video recording, Mr. Gavao also asked the presiding Judge – Justice Reginald Fynn to order the prosecution to also make available to the defense, the audio recording that was taken simultaneously while the former ADC, who arrested and escorted the 5th accused – Ibrahim Fakeh Conteh to the ACC with the sum of US$ 60,000, was making his statement to the ACC, as well as the statement itself. Neither has been produced by the prosecution, nor are they forthcoming according to the state prosecutor, C. T. Mantsebo.
“That statement has not been produced in court; that statement is extremely germane and exculpatory of the 2nd accused,” Mr. Gavao reiterated during the proceedings on Thursday 27th July, 2020.
Mr. Gavao averred that in modern practice, it is the duty of the prosecution to produce all available evidence to the court, whether or not it is incriminating or exculpatory of the accused.
State Counsel, Mr. Mantsebo, has informed the court that the statement could not be traced, neither could he make available the video or audio recording. Instead, the prosecutor brought the former ADC to Victor Foh, who actually did the video recording on his personal mobile phone, suggesting to the court that he would be the best person to produce the video in court.
Victor Foh’s lawyer has argued that there could be ‘embedded in that recording certain vital pieces of evidence that may not have been captured in court.’
Regarding the video recording done on the instructions of the 2nd accused, which is a video recording of the entire incident of the alleged handing over of the sum of US$ 60, 000 to the 2nd accused – Victor Foh in his house, Mr. Gavao asked the learned Judge to direct the prosecution to produce it, which Justice Fynn dutifully ordered – and that order still stands.
The matter is being heard every day at the Anti-Corruption Division of the High Court of Sierra Leone.
The prosecution has closed its case; defense Counsel for the 1st accused – lawyer S. Wil has led in evidence his first defense witness (DW1) Sheka S. Kamara, the 1st accused, who was the secretary to the 2017 Hajj Committee.
Mr. Kamara has been cross examined by Victor Foh’s Counsel, H. M. Gavao and Counsel for the State, C. T. Mantsebo. The latter finished cross examining the 1st accused last Wednesday, 26th August 2020. The matter stands adjourned to tomorrow Wednesday 9th September, 2020.
If we’ve been honest with ourselves, which is not always the case, when we are dealing with issues pertaining to the national interest, the ACC is set up to fail. The Bio government made sure that remains the desired outcome. The president is paying lip service to tackling corruption. While prosecution of past and present government officials grind to halt in the courts,I wonder how long Ben Khalifa will continue to take bullets for this out of control government.
When it comes to developing our country, we are told we don’t have the funds to pay teachers salaries, nurses, doctors, repair school buildings, construct that road. All the while we hear them talking of ministers stealing state funds that reads like telephone numbers. Victor Foh and Mr I fakeh conteh, only in Sierra Leone you hear thieving public officials carrying names like that, as if it is a badge of honour to steal from the state.
All the while the public is treated to this spectacle like we are watching a horror show played out in the courts in slow motion. And the actors are always the usual suspects.The ACC is being given a hoe and a shovel to uproot a giant tree we call corruption. The roots are deeply entrenched, it will take a miracle to clear the bushes let alone get to the roots. THE ACC needs a digger not a hoe to get to the roots of our corrupt system. May God bless Sierra-leone.
A nation overcrowded with the most wretched leaders and public officials your honest eyes will ever see; a grief-stricken and gullible people being plunged unremorsefully into the abysmal depths of abject humiliating poverty and the sorrows that come with it by self-centered men lacking any feelings of regret and guilt.
They are wasting taxpayers money fighting losing battles,engaging in lost causes,ignorantly trying to authenticate and reinforce one failing dubious effort after the other with attitudes of immaturity and outright appalling ineptitude.
An inept Finance minister that is strangling our people with an economic and financial noose,being loudly cheered on by a failing miserable President that controls all the institutions of our nation like puppets on strings. And who says there is a glimmer of hope in the horizon for the downtrodden masses of Sierra Leone – the only place I am proud to call my home.